Apple Watch helps a pregnant woman discover a life-threatening condition

Apple Watch hear rate
(Image credit: Future)

A pregnant woman credits her Apple Watch with saving her life after it alerted her to an issue that turned out to be a life-threatening one that she wasn't yet aware of.

The woman, from Clydebank in Scotland, found that she was struggling to breathe when walking up the stairs at her home. She put the shortness of breath down to the fact she is asthmatic and 22 weeks pregnant, but her Apple Watch knew better.

The woman says that after sitting down her Apple Watch alerted her to a resting heart rate of 154bpm. Concerned, she visited a local hospital.

Two pulmonary embolisms

The Daily Record reports that the woman was subsequently diagnosed with not one but two pulmonary embolisms — blood clots in her lungs that can prove fatal if left untreated.

"If it wasn't for my Apple Watch, I wouldn't have realized the danger I was in," the woman told the Daily Record. "It saved my life."

However, it wasn't all plain sailing — the woman was initially sent home after doctors said that the issue was related to her baby pushing into her diaphragm. It was only after visiting another doctor days later that the diagnosis was made. "I could have died in a few months thinking my symptoms were just my pregnancy," she said.

Thankfully, high heart rate alerts are available on most models and not just the best Apple Watches. The Apple Watch Series 1 and newer are all capable of warning when the wearer's heart rate is abnormally high. They can also warn if a heart rate is too low, too.

Health and well-being have long been a focus for the Apple Watch and with the Apple Watch Series 9 and watchOS 10 just around the corner, it's possible we will see more features and capabilities announced at WWDC 2023 to help save even more lives in the future as well.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.